Wild Animals/Crow behaviour

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Question
Hello: I am writing to ask why crows picking at roadkill don't attempt to move the carcass off the roadway,so as to enjoy their meal in peace.The ones I see while driving will hop on the curb until I drive by,and then resume eating.I have never seen a crow attempt to move the remains off the road.I find this strange as crows,being highly intelligent, have been observed dropping nuts on the road so cars will drive over them and crack them,and then will wait for traffic signals to stop the vehicles,enabling them to retrieve the nutmeat in safety. Thanks

Answer
Dear Michael,

That's a very good question, and one we can't possibly hope to answer unless we could get inside their little crow heads.

I would not be surprised if crows sometimes move *small* roadkill off the road.  But perhaps a very large roadkill is just not worth the trouble to them.  As you say, they are very intelligent, and they know when a car is coming.  It's a rare thing to see a roadkill crow.  So it might just be that the cars are something they don't mind dealing with, and that eating in peace isn't high on their priority list.  :)

Not sure that's a good answer, but there it is.

Dana

Wild Animals

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

I'm an evolutionary biologist with a passion for animals. Ask about natural history, behavior, ecology, evolution. PLEASE NOTE:

If you have found an "orphaned" or injured wild animal or bird:
Please don't waste time asking questions on the internet, as the answers may come too late. DO NOT FEED THE ANIMAL, and DO NOT HANDLE IT unless it is in imminent danger. (Many wild "orphans" are not orphans at all!) If you are absolutely sure it is orphaned, keep it warm and quiet, and find a LICENSED WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR HERE. Don't try to raise a baby yourself, or rehabilitate an injured anmal. Many a well-intentioned rescuer will do more harm than good, especially with baby birds and baby rabbits.

I.D. OF MYSTERY ANIMALS
Without geographic location, time of day and habitat, I can't help. A clear picture is always best.

I.D. OF MYSTERY ANIMAL SOUNDS
It's impossible for me to I.D. an animal call without hearing it myself.

COMPARATIVE STRENGTHS
I'm not an expert on comparative strengths of different animals (more complicated than you might think!) nor bite forces.

FIGHTING ANIMALS
I refuse to answer "Which of these two animals--X or X--would win in a fight?".

These hypothetical matchups range from impossible (Grizzly Bears and Gorillas don't even occupy the same continent.) to ridiculous (Someone asked me "Who would win a fight between a Great White Shark and a tiger?").

The vast majority of animals--even the fierce and powerful--are not as warlike as Homo sapiens, and it's childish to project our aggressiveness onto them.

Experience

I have been the fortunate caregiver to a group of Black-tailed Jackrabbits rescued from the Miami International Airport, and not releasable in this area because they are not native. I also have rehabbed and released Eastern Cottontails, and am in contact with many very experienced wildlife rescuers who regularly handle injured or orphaned rabbits and hares.

Organizations
House Rabbit Society

Publications
Exotic DVM journal

Education/Credentials
I have a Ph.D. in Biology, with main areas of expertise in evolutionary biology, genetics, botany, and ecology.

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